Bee Saving Paper — You Guessed It! — Saves Bees Globally

Unable to resist our sweet stripey friends — and of course, the danger to our food resource brought about by the dwindling of their populations — different sectors have already been participating in bee saving initiatives. There is the UK’s ban on harmful pesticides. There is the transformation of empty lots into bee farms by a group of Detroit locals. Recently, there is free ice cream from food company Häagen-Dazs to promote the bee saving advocacy.

The latest to join the hive is a Polish startup company that created a biodegradable paper from energy-rich glucose that may feed bees. Not only is it definitely usable for us humans because the material isn’t sticky at all, Bee Saving Paper is very nutritious and delicious for our pollinator friends.

The material is made by dissolving a special kind of sugar into water, making a paste that beekeepers use to nourish their hives during the winter. According to the paper startup’s website, only 0.5 kilograms of the substance is enough to feed several thousand bees.

The paper is also made with honey plant seeds, which means that once the bee eats up all the glucose, the paper’s biodegradation will grow another “rest stop” for bees in its place.

Now you might ask: why would any creature want to eat paper? What could make it seem sumptuous? Well, the designers have also come up with a solution to make the Bee Saving Paper look yummy.

Since bees see fields of flowers as circles of colored light on the ultraviolet spectrum, the engineers used water-based UV paint to cover the paper with colored circles that are only visible — and attractive — to bees.

Since last year, the startup has already successfully executed its first field test. They helped out a Polish beekeeper whose bee farm populations were rapidly decreasing. Now, the company aims to promote their bee saving products to large brands and businesses that need paper. Which could be every business out there, really.

[A]ny business or manufacturing company using paper can start making their products out of materials that are environmentally friendly and nourishing to pollinators — from paper bags to parking tickets and picnic plates.

I can’t imagine how exciting it would be to do everyday chores. Shop with a paper bag, read food labels printed on paper, drink from a paper cup, write love letters on paper… do pretty much everything as a bee saving hero!

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Sustainable Ceremonies Top Wedding Trends

When it comes to weddings, it’s all about the bride and groom. No matter the price tag, food and decor are all up to the lovebirds. However, receptions can be wasteful, and newlyweds are starting to do something about it. For one British couple, it was all about serving up a zero-waste feast. But sustainable ceremonies aren’t the easiest to pull off — at least not without the help of Day Maker Events.

“Many ask for a green wedding these days. People show concern over the use of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials for the decorations. So, we thought why not go back to the past and our valuable traditions!”

To start a new age of wedding trends, the Kochi company in India provides a slew of charming decorations made entirely of coconut products. From grand arches to leaf plates, Day Maker Events knows how to keep it green. And definitely pretty.

“It is environment-friendly and it benefits farmers, too… Above all, the cost is very less compared to other types of decorations. Disposal after use will also not be an issue.”

The best part? Hiring them won’t cost you over a thousand bucks. Interestingly rustic, it shows us one thing: sustainability can come with style!

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New Delhi To Sell Biodegradable Sanitary Pads

If people won’t stop tossing ’em, make ’em biodegradable. Since car tires, cooking grills, and six-pack beer holders went green, engineers are treading even deeper waters. In honor of International Women’s Day (and Mother Nature, of course) New Delhi is introducing biodegradable sanitary napkins for only Rs. 2.50 a pad. That’s hardly half a dollar!

The sanitary napkins will be available in a pack of four pads for Rs 10 across over 3,200 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) Kendras by May 28, 2018, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar said.

Currently, a pack of four napkins sells at Rs 32 ($0.49) — a ridiculous price for an easily perishable necessity.  Even worse, they are hardly accessible in rural communities.

According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58 per cent of women aged between 15 to 24 years use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins and tampons.

What’s better than to make an essential affordable and eco-friendly? Power to you, India!

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Amsterdam Supermarket Boasts Plastic-Free Options

Despite a growing abundance of zero-waste shopping options, other alternatives have yet to hit mainstream stores. In a supermarket first, Amsterdam’s Ekoplaza is making over 700 plastic-free products available to the public.

“We know that our customers are sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging,” Ekoplaza chief executive Erik Does said.

“Plastic-free aisles are a really innovative way of testing the compostable biomaterials that offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging.”

With limited choices for items in non-plastic wrapping, bringing them to the masses makes a big statement. As an added bonus, manufacturing biodegradable containers won’t cost anything upwards from regular plastic materials. Ekoplaza will carry eco-friendly rice, sauces, snacks, and more packed in metal, glass, and cardboard.

“There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic,” [A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian] Sutherland said. “Plastic food and drink packaging remains useful for a matter of days yet remains a destructive presence on the Earth for centuries afterwards.”

As the greatest contributor to plastic waste in department stores, grocery aisles have long deserved eco-alternatives. Hopefully, they’re here to stay.

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Donut Franchise To Ditch Styrofoam Cups

When determined joggers aren’t plucking trash off running paths, coffee-goers are investing in reusable to-go cups. Yet plastic pollution persists around the globe, inspiring other groups to make initiatives. Playing its part in a more eco-friendly society is dessert colossus Dunkin’ Donuts. The popular brand is hacking its disposable foam cups by 2020 for a sustainable substitute — but the process hasn’t been easy.

“Transitioning 9,000 restaurants from our iconic foam coffee cup is a big decision that has implications for our franchisees’ bottom line and the guest experience, and we did not want to take it lightly,” the company said.

Deciding against a polypropylene cup, Dunkin’ Donuts is trying out double-walled paper. It’s far superior in terms of recyclability and how easily it’ll biodegrade, and a total hit with sustainable forestry standards.

“With more than 9,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S. alone, our decision to eliminate foam cups is significant for both our brand and our industry,” [said] Karen Raskopf, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer.

Lucky for us kids, the material will still, apparently, keep drinks piping hot. No one wants to sip on a cold Americano.

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3D-Printed Ears Help Hearing Impaired Kids

Implants are becoming a thing of the past, now that it’s possible to 3D-print anything from brain tissue to teeth. While some remain dubious about the technology, Chinese scientists may convince them to think on the contrary. A Chinese lab has successfully incorporated 3D-printing methods to regrow underdeveloped ears using the patients’ own cells.

The researchers created a 3D-printed replica of each child’s normal ear… but … reversed. This replica was then used to create a mold littered with tiny holes and made out of biodegradable material. The mold was filled in with precursor cartilage cells taken from the children’s deformed ear that were further grown in the lab.

The ears grow over a 12-week process and are more restorative than cosmetic. Chinese researchers haven’t yet trialled the use of stem cells, but progress incredibly fast, which means its potential shouldn’t be far off. Five children have since undergone the experimental procedure.

“It’s a very exciting approach,” [said] Tessa Hadlock, a reconstructive plastic surgeon…“They’ve shown that it is possible to get close to restoring the ear structure.”

We’ve come a long way with reconstructive surgeries, and might I say — it’s music to my ears.

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Biodegradable Six-Pack Beer Holders Are A New Fad

At present, contemporary breweries have moved out of beer houses and into labs. To make up for scant resources, many sustainable groups are crafting tasty drinks from bread and other waste. While revamping recipes is a success in itself, we can’t yet say the same for packaging. Six-pack holders are often 100% plastic, but that isn’t the case for Mexican Startup E6PR. Eco Six Pack Rings’ holders are made with compostable materials that are completely biodegradable.

“With the help of E6PR, we would like to inspire the entire beer industry to follow our lead… Our goal is to transition all of the packaging in our facility to this six-pack ring alternative that goes beyond recycling and strives to achieve zero waste.” [said Chris Gove of SaltWater Brewery.]

The rings dissolve in water and are safe for marine animals to ingest. E6PR hopes to produce the holders for all types of cans and bottles along with their standard size.

“If most craft brewers and big beer companies implement this technology, we will potentially be saving hundreds of thousands of marine lives as a result,” said Francisco García, the engineer behind the project

It’s quite the genius party trick, and while it won’t harm any animals, we do hope you reach for a rubbish bin before making the ocean yours.

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Scotland Puts An End To Cotton Swabs

It’s the end of an era for plastic products. In the past year, Kenya bid goodbye to plastic bags while the U.K. made a final salute to microbeads. Latest to kick the bucket are cotton buds, axed by Scotland’s government.

“Despite various campaigns, people are continuing to flush litter down their toilets and this has to stop. Scotland’s sewerage… systems are not designed to remove small plastic items such as plastic buds, which can kill marine animals and birds that swallow them.” [said environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham.]

The ban is the first of its kind in the U.K. Subsequently, it has encouraged cotton product manufacturers to use biodegradable materials. E-charity Fidra has attempted a number of exhausting cotton bud clean-ups — and the damage isn’t pretty.

“This decisive action is great news for the environment and for wildlife. Cotton buds are a very visible sign of our hugely wasteful habits, turning up on beaches across the globe.” [said Richard Dixon of Friends of the Earth.]

Sure, cotton swabs may feel pleasant in your ear — but not in oceans and definitely not in anyone’s stomach!

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Plastic-Eating Worms Could Solve Pollution

While Lego’s mission to incorporate bioplastics into its products is commendable, it’s not going to eliminate the billions of pieces that already exist. Plastic disposal is an issue that has long puzzled the sanitation industry. Now, there may be a solution. Plastic-eating worms could potentially inspire waste-degrading tools.

Researchers in Spain and England recently found that the larvae of the greater wax moth can efficiently degrade polyethylene, which accounts for 40 percent of plastics.

To test their efficiency, researchers left 100 wax worms to munch on a plastic bag for 12 hours. The worms consumed 92 milligrams-worth (or 3%) of the bag. Off to a slow but promising start. When applied as a paste, enzymes from the worms’ stomachs act identically.

“Wax is a complex mixture of molecules, but the basic bond in polyethylene, the carbon-carbon bond, is there as well. The wax worm evolved a mechanism to break this bond.”

This could be the breakthrough every industrial process needs. Of course, biologists have yet to come up with a proper formula. After all, tossing a truckful of worms into a landfill may not be the most realistic option.

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Electric Biodegradable Car Is Made From Resin

We are entering an era of electric automobiles. From buses to taxis, morning commutes are now all about saving energy. However, these Dutch students are taking the next step in environmentally-friendly technology. They have grown an electric biodegradable car made of sugar beets and flax.

The car is covered with sheets of Dutch-grown flax, has a similar strength-to-weight ratio to fiberglass and weighs only 310kg.

“Only the wheels and suspension systems are not yet of bio-based materials,”

Unfortunately, there is no word on the sweet ride’s commercial development, as it wouldn’t sustain a crash. Still, the team at the Eindhoven University of Technology hopes to at least give it a run. After all, the car (named Lina), proves a vital point.

“Energy that is saved while driving the car is now spent during the production phase,”

Lina, which uses minimal energy in-drive, also uses minimal energy to produce. Hopefully, if not Lina, a car equally as efficient hits the road in the near future.

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